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ICE slams ‘willfully uncooperative’ NYPD for releasing wanted felon 10 TIMES before he’s nabbed on federal firearms charges

ICE slams ‘willfully uncooperative’ NYPD for releasing wanted felon 10 TIMES before he’s nabbed on federal firearms charges
Blasting New York’s “sanctuary city” policies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials announced a felon released by NYPD on 10 separate occasions was finally arrested on federal charges and may face deportation.

ICE has filed 10 immigration detainers for Jhonny Alejandro Soto-Ubaldo over the past two years, only to see him released as police refused to honor them, the agency announced on Tuesday. Soto-Ubaldo is a Dominican national allegedly in the US illegally.

This case is “one of many examples of how New York’s sanctuary city policies place the safety of the residents at risk,” acting ICE director Tony Pham said in a statement. “Their willful uncooperative nature provides criminals such as Soto-Ubaldo the opportunity to re-offend.”

First arrested in June 2018 in Queens, Soto-Ubaldo was released without the NYPD notifying ICE. The same thing happened two months later. ICE tried to get him handed over six more times in 2019 and twice this year, with the same result. The lengthy list of charges against him includes “assault, harassment, criminal mischief, grand larceny, petit larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and criminal possession of a firearm,” according to the agency.

This went on until Soto-Ubaldo was arrested on federal firearms charges earlier this month, and remanded to US Marshals custody. ICE intends to take him into custody after charges against Soto-Ubaldo are sorted out in federal court in the Eastern District of New York.

“What makes this case so frustrating is that local law enforcement failed to honor 10 detainers, despite Soto-Ubaldo’s lengthy criminal history,” said Thomas Decker, director for Enforcement and Removal Operations at ICE’s New York Field Office. “How can local politicians – in good conscience – say they’re protecting their constituents when they pass laws that release criminals back into our communities?”

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Two New York laws that came into effect this year have drawn the ire of immigration authorities. Cash bail was abolished for many misdemeanors and nonviolent crimes, meaning that many offenders would be released from jail shortly after getting arrested. Moreover, the state’s so-called “Green Light Law” both allowed immigrants in the US illegally to obtain driver’s licenses and denied access to the DMV databases to the US Department of Homeland Security.

DHS, of which ICE is a part, has since sought to compel New York to enforce federal law, to much resistance from Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Since October 2019, Decker’s office has lodged 7,526 detainers for crimes that include homicide, robbery, assault, sexual assault, and drunk driving. The subjects of those detainers accounted for 17,873 criminal convictions and 6,500 pending criminal charges, ICE said.

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